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On Faith: 'Summa Theologiae' 2-2, qq. 1-16.

QUINAS, St. Thomas. On Faith: Summa Theologiae 2-2, qq. 1-16. Translate by Mark D. Jordan. Readings in the Summa Theologiae, vol. 1. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1990. x + 284 pp. $9.95--For two principal reasons, this is a welcome translation of Thomas Aquinas's treatment of faith. First, it is one of the very few English translations of Aquinas that has heeded Aquinas's own sage advice on translating--preserve the sense of the original but adapt its style to suit the language into which it is being translated (see the prologue to Contra errores Graecorum). Most anglophone translators make Aquinas appear as if he concoted a highly technical language to impress his brother Dominicans. Jordan, on the other hand, rightly understands that while Aquinas uses words and phrases in very precise ways, he never does so at the expense of their common, ordinary meanings. In fact, Aquinas's precise language is unintelligible without its being seen as rooted in ordinary language and naturally developed through the philosophy and theological traditions he inherited. Thus, by avoiding the obscure Latinate English that plagues other translations and, instead, rendering Thomas into felicitous English with due attention to the sources, Jordan's translation well reflects the accessibility of the original.

The second reason concerns Aquinas's own discussion of faith. Jordan argues in his introduction that Summa Theologiae II-II (the special treatment of morals) best exhibits the surpassing organization of the whole work. For Thomas had inherited a tangle of moral traditions and yet established an order among them in which each became intelligible. He manifests, for example, the necessary connection between virtues and rules--a connection for which many today are groping. In addition, the treatment of faith in particular has an obvious bearing upon such questions in the philosophy of religion as the difference between faith and knowledge, the necessity of faith, and the proper scope of faith. May this be, therefore, the first in a long line of favorably received translations of the Summa Theologiae II-II.--Gregory L. Froelich, Barboursville, Va.

(*1) Books received are acknowledged in this section by a brief resume, report, or criticism. Such acknowledgement does not preclude a more detailed examination in a subsequent Critical Study. From time to time, technical books dealing with such fields as mathematics, physics, anthropology, and the social sciences will be reviewed in this section, if it is thought that they might be of special interest to philosophers.
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Author:Froelich, Gregory L.
Publication:The Review of Metaphysics
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Dec 1, 1992
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